Monday, June 13, 2011

Flick of The Day: The Blues Brothers

I loathe musicals. All that needless singing to advance the plot drives over the edge. There have been legions of Broadway shows that have been adapted for the screen down through the years and I struggle to find a single positive thing  to say. They all seem do overly serious and taken with themselves. However, for a combination of music and performance with a healthy dose of comedy, I must heartily recommend The Blues Brothers as today's flick of the day.
Starring the late great John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as the eponymous brothers Jake and Elwood, this film is a modern classic from director John Landis. The film opens as Jake is released from prison. Together the two are soon on a "mission from god" in the form of the Nun in charge of their childhood orphanage, which needs $5,000 to stay open. In an attempt to get their band back together and raise the funds, they embark on a madcap cross country trek pursued by State Troopers, Neo Nazis and a murderous Carrie Fisher. Along the way they bump into some legends of blues and soul music including Cab Calloway, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles
The plot is frail to say the least but its carried through by some very energetic musical numbers and by the natural charm of the leading men. John Belushi was never cooler then in this role and it acts as a great reminder of the raw talent that was snuffed out far too young. The other major selling point is the fantastically choreographed car chases with one in particular destroying an entire shopping mall. 

Elwood: Illinois Nazis. 
Jake: I hate Illinois Nazis.

The zany humour at the heart of all John Landis scripts has aged well and any dull moments are forgotten as the film roars to a spectacular finale.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable film which just about carries itself over its 130 minute running time. The various cameo appearances by the great and good of soul and rhythm-and-blues are entertaining and give the film some much needed authenticity. It's funny, lively and one of the few film to come out of Saturday Night Live which has stood the test of time. Well worth a look.

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